Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

Cycle to the shops, walk down the road, even dash from the car to the front door when visiting friends, and it is hard, difficult, almost impossible to believe that Spring is almost here.

Watch the shadow line in the garden shrink a little each day as some great floodlight in the heavens seemingly comes nearer to our hemisphere, and yet it is still challenging to accept that winter isn't England's new outdoor feature.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Natural beauty ... Suddenly it's Spring, seems like it, and who could hide their wonder? Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash and many thnaks to them and Karl's model.
However, the Nautical Almanac insists that the bright globe is coming this way, and if there's one thing we can rely on in this world, it's that essential seafaring almanac.

Ball of fire

That means the yellow sphere we glimpse occasionally must definitely be on course to bring Spring to the north.

When I sailed last week for the first time in 20 years, the orb - apparently we call it sun, or the sun - hovered over us, or relatively over us, at 8° 20' South.

Only a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, it was far away at 23° 26' South.

That huge ball of fire is an amazing 93 million miles off, give or take a kilometre or two.

With its noticeably changed angle, this goose-fleshy cynic has to accept that it really must be heralding spring, whatever the gloom of daily forecasts.

Robert's tribute to Spring

Take a look at neighbourhood gardens and there can be no doubt.

Follow that with a peak at Robert Graham's latest poem on his Healing Gardens website. Then you'll know for sure that Spring is springing in, has just about sprung, whether the weather forecasters want to cheer us up or not.

It's a great new verse, utterly topical, and deserves to be shared among us.

March Daffodils

Pause
On the unstoppable flowery alchemies of March,
Rushing towards you everywhere you do not look,
Rest on these golden islands of warm little suns,
Until the summer comes,

Daffodils,
That arrived in blue battalions,
Boxing with the winds
That whips cheeks warm,

Celandines,
Glossy, show-stopping stars of the hedgerows,
Arms outstretched in final routine below break-dancing catkins.

Narcissi
In busy crowds, hanging onto themselves,
Going about their flowerings, no time to talk ...

Roberto's verse continues on his site here ⇒⇒ ⇒⇒

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